The days before the actual “first day” of school are the most precious and set the tone for my mental game, as I gear up for the year. The utter silence not only in my room but throughout the hallways, only to be interrupted by teacher chatter, hugs, and rushing feet from one room or meeting to another quietly emulate a natural high as reality has not hit. Kids. Paperwork. Rules. My plans are for obvious perfection and is the bubble of life if only for a fleeting few days. It is then that schedules sound possible, discipline will be a breeze, and dress codes sound reasonable as jean days are put on the chopping block. It’s ok, we should dress up. Then week three hits and it hits hard. Suddenly, the quiet is replaced with chaos because the moving pieces are coming fast. It is a teachers life. It is precious but mentally and physically draining on a level few others feel.
Then it hits. It’s a stamicane, my own word for a stampede plus hurricane. Kids making their way down our halls breaking the blissful silence. First, the utter excitement is contagious but by week three “When is fall break” is my number one on the playlist on my mind, on repeat. With break approaching, I had a literal physical break after dealing with hospice, moving my mother out of an assisted living and into another assisted living. And yes, she is thriving, thanks to hospice. Try that. For nine weeks when you must put on a happy face, everyday. This is why teaching is a young persons game. The young do not have big life issues straight out of school. I broke physically and mentally. Mrs. Tough had her comeuppance. I divided my kids, with no tears and made it to the doctor with a full on ugly cry in the waiting room. But I made it. I spent the next two days feeling guilty for missing work and now the next few days of break in recovery and enjoying the simple sound of silence. It brings me pause and a true reflection of important issues and allows me to shake off the crazy. Not my kids. All the other educational nuttiness which does not fit on one blog post alone. It is more volume based. Truly.
The quiet of break and the reflection of my first days of school brings clarity for the busy that the remainder of fall brings. My thoughts of perfection have been replaced with my pacing guide, test scores, and a newspaper to churn out. The test scores are the sad reality portion but a truth that leaves my competitive soul always hungry for more but steeped in the reality of who my students are and where can they go in this school year. It is a balancing act. Journalism keeps me happy and if I ever get social studies again as a subject area, thrilled. Hiring for 8th grade civics. Give me a call. As my wounds mend and my own inner changes readied to implement continuous healing without another major setback. I remember that in the quiet I take to heal it is my own stamina and ability to block out the storm that brings me my success on a daily basis, where it counts. With kids.